12 Deliciously Decadent Indulgences

“I can resist anything but temptation” 

                                                                           Oscar Wilde

Excess within control has long been my mantra. Years ago Elizabeth Taylor, whom many believed to be the most beautiful woman in the world, embarked upon a diet method based on six days of discipline and one day of indulgence. Some might argue that any dietary diversion is unwise, but this approach has always seemed very logical to me. After all whom among us is capable of absolute perfection? For me there are simply things I can’t imagine giving up forever, nor would I wish to try. A far better method is to find a balance between treating oneself and rabid over-indulgence. Here are a few of my personal culinary obsessions, some are elegant while others are simple regional treats with powerful childhood memories. What are your 12 favorites?

Delicate and rather "precious" these French macarons are an addiction shared by millions.

Delicate and rather "precious" these French macarons are an addiction shared by millions.

Creamy, rich and sinful Lavender Honey ice cream with chunks of White Chocolate. Sublime!

Creamy, rich and sinful Lavender Honey ice cream with chunks of White Chocolate. Sublime!

Candied pecans are perfect with cocktails, or chopped in a salad with strawberries and goat's cheese, or simply as a delicious treat with your afternoon cup of tea. The best I've found are in Charleston, SC although Savannah has a wonderful interpretation with fresh ginger.

Candied pecans are perfect with cocktails, or chopped in a salad with strawberries and goat's cheese, or simply as a delicious treat with your afternoon cup of tea. The best I've found are in Charleston, SC although Savannah has a wonderful interpretation with fresh ginger.

Peach sorbet with Prosecco, a cousin of the famous Bellini of Venice.

Peach sorbet with Prosecco, a cousin of the famous Bellini of Venice.

Coconut Truffles remind me of childhood and my favorite coconut bonbons.

Coconut Truffles remind me of childhood and my favorite coconut bonbons.

I make this Florentine style thin crust pizza with fresh pears, pistachios, and Miele honey from Italy. It is the perfect balance of savory and sweet.

I make this Florentine style thin crust pizza with fresh pears, pistachios, and Miele honey from Italy. It is the perfect balance of savory and sweet.

Every Southerner will tell you nothing is more perfect for the winter holidays than a creamy Coconut layer cake, lovingly made from scratch, preferably starting with a fresh coconut!

Every Southerner will tell you nothing is more perfect for the winter holidays than a creamy Coconut layer cake, lovingly made from scratch, preferably starting with a fresh coconut!

I'm convinced these are health food, after all they're vegetables! A colorful combination of yucca, parsnips, sweet potatoes, gold and red beets, and taro root with a healthy dash of sea salt.

I'm convinced these are health food, after all they're vegetables! A colorful combination of yucca, parsnips, sweet potatoes, gold and red beets, and taro root with a healthy dash of sea salt.

But is it Art? In my opinion there is nothing more beautiful that a lattice top fruit pie. My personal favorite is a fresh strawberry pie, red, sweet, and gorgeous!

But is it Art? In my opinion there is nothing more beautiful that a lattice top fruit pie. My personal favorite is a fresh strawberry pie, red, sweet, and gorgeous!

I discovered this honey on my last visit to Florence. It is by the far the creamiest, most flavorful honey I've ever tasted, made in Tuscany from Sunflowers!

I discovered this honey on my last visit to Florence. It is by the far the creamiest, most flavorful honey I've ever tasted, made in Tuscany from Sunflowers!

Marmalade does not begin to define this magical creation from the beloved New York Chef, Sarabeth Levine. Breakfast or brunch is simply not complete without it. I adore it with a freshly baked croissant or French toast.

Marmalade does not begin to define this magical creation from the beloved New York Chef, Sarabeth Levine. Breakfast or brunch is simply not complete without it. I adore it with a freshly baked croissant or French toast.

Last and certainly not least, is my favorite cake of all time, a simple but oh so delicious Pineapple Upside Down Cake. Every Southern cook knows this is a staple for the holidays.

Last and certainly not least, is my favorite cake of all time, a simple but oh so delicious Pineapple Upside Down Cake. Every Southern cook knows this is a staple for the holidays.